What are the treatment options for pancreatic cancer?

The type of treatment a patient receives highly depends on the severity of the condition. Some patients with pancreatic cancer notice improvements with one method of treatment, while others are treated with a combination. Treatment options available include: 
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy: commonly known as the Whipple procedure, this operation is done to remove the head of the pancreas- including the first part of the small intestines (duodenum), gallbladder and part of the bile duct, where most pancreatic tumors occur. In few cases, parts of the stomach and nearby lymph nodes are removed and then reconstructed to allow for digestion of food.
  • Distal pancreatectomy: this surgery is done to remove tumors in the pancreatic body and tail. In most cases, the spleen is also removed.
  • Total pancreatectomy: this procedure calls for the removal of the entire pancreas and spleen. Complete removal of the pancreas can result in diabetes due to the lack of insulin production. 
Chemotherapy refers to the use of chemical agents whose main effect is either to kill or slow the reproduction of rapidly multiplying cancer cells. This results in tumor shrinkage or cancer cell death. Drugs can be delivered through a vein in your arm (intravenously), or they can be taken orally. Another type of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer is known as chemoembolization, in which the chemotherapy drug is combined with another substance to block the artery, reducing blood flow to the tumor.
Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy damages the DNA of cancer cells by the use of high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation. It may be an alternative to surgery or used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. 
Targeted drug therapy
Targeted drug therapy works by targeting specific abnormalities in cancer cells. This form of treatment is often combined with chemotherapy drugs. 
pancreatic cancer treatment

  • "Pancreatic Cancer." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 06 June 2017. Web. 28 June 2017.
  • "Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms, Prognosis & More." Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic, 27 May 2015. Web. 28 June 2017.
  • "What You Need to Know About Pancreatic Cancer." Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Johns Hopkins Health System, n.d. Web. 28 June 2017.
  • "Pancreatic Cancer Facts." Pancreatic Cancer Facts | MD Anderson Cancer Center. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, n.d. Web. 29 June 2017.


From Our Blog: PeriAnesthesia Nurse Awareness - Surgery Prep
PeriAnesthesia is a specialty branch of nursing concerned with providing care to patients who are undergoing or recovering from anesthesia. Surgery can be a stressful procedure, physically and emotionally. To help you endure these anxieties, here are three steps to prepare for surgery:
perianesthesia nurse awareness - surgery prep


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